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The Marietta Ice Center seeks return to prominence in Atlanta youth hockey

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The MIC (Marietta Ice Center) has endured a tremendous amount of pain and adversity in the last several years.

Some might even wonder why it didn’t change its team logo to the ‘Phoenix’ adopted by the cross town Ice Forum when the NHL Atlanta Thrashers left town.

The Phoenix, of course, is a mythical bird that rises from the ashes of its predecessor and symbolizes immortality.The MIC seems to be mimicking the bird with great determination and effort. Many have already forgotten that the MIC was once stocked with the most experienced hockey coaches in the entire state.

Unique to the MIC was its northern hockey feel. The rink often produced some of the toughest youth players and quite often a fight might break out on ‘Little Blue’ the second smaller rink housed in the building without much fanfare. In some ways the MIC had that “old school yard bully” feel to it where kids sometimes had to learn to fend for themselves. .

Access to experienced coaches was partly due to the very successful juniors program that has produced championships and many college scholarships. Marietta also attracted a respectable portion of youth hockey players who lived in close proximity to the Marietta rink.

The MIC suffered several internal problems that directly affected its operation. They has severe rink repair challenges including having to dig up the piping through cement under the main ice surface to repair leakage problems and also dealt with the loss of key personnel.

The MIC went from attracting some of the best youth players to a rebuilding mode. Soon there was constant criticism of the facility and parent abandoned the MIC for the Ice Forum, the Cooler and the newly opened Ice Bandits rink.

The MIC was often ridiculed for being leaky, rusty and rundown; despite the fact it housed superior staff and a top notch junior program.

The MIC eventually changed ownership and was acquired by Dr. Dominic Didomenicantonio, who almost immediately launched a broad renovation plan to modernize the MIC and draw parents and players back to the storied location. 'Dr. Dominic' as he is called hails from Winnipeg,Manitoba, Canada and still maintains a home and medical practice in Torrance, California.

The new MIC demonstrated marketing sense early reworking the website to be more user friendly, and in a brilliant move allowing the goalies who come to drop in sessions to play for "free."

” Who likes to shoot on a empty net said “Mo” Morrison."

Atlanta Knights program Director “Mo"is one of the very best hockey minds in Atlanta and the new ownership has managed to retain his services. He is active in the planning and development of youth hockey programs and brings considerable heft to the Knights organization.

Another important component of the Knights rebuilding effort is Tim Kitagawa. The Canadian born Kitagawa is a tremendous asset with unmatched experience as a coach, referee and instructor.

His reputation for competence, fairness and objectivity are also unequalled in an environment where parent coaches can poison the experience for youth players.

Kitagawa can do more with just a tire on the ice than most coaches can do with pylons, pucks and nets. Kitagawa will coach the Bantam travel team and resides in Marietta with his wife Zdenka and two children Kobe and Celine.

The rest of the coaching staff for 2013-14 is as follows:

Lonny Weakland:

18 U Associate - Coach Weakland is a Michigan native entering his 10th season as a minor hockey coach in Atlanta. He has been a part of the Knights staff for 3 years. Growing up he played minor hockey for Little Caesars and continues to play as a member of the AAHL hockey league here in Atlanta. He is a business owner, as well as a real estate agent in east Cobb. Weakland resides in the Atlanta area with his wife, Jennifer, and two sons, Josh and Andrew.

Dan Carlson:

Coach Midget- Elite 16 U AA Carlson – owned, operated, & instructed “Minnesota Summer Skate” hockey school for 20 years. He instructed over 10,000 players from mites through college. Several dozen individuals are now playing in college – Division I & III – including 3 players on undefeated 2012 Golden Gopher National Championship team. He has coached numerous premier elite/invitational teams (squirts – college) including – Minnesota hockey, Minnesota Selects, Elite Classic, Super-Series, Showcase, and AAA hockey teams. Since being transferred to Atlanta, he has instructed (Elite Spring Skill Development program) & coached (Pee Wee’s through Juniors). Coach Carlson has coached numerous midgets that have successfully moved into a junior hockey program. He continues working with players, parents, and hockey organizations in Atlanta as a member of the Atlanta Knight’s Advisory Board & Level 4 certified coach.

Mike Waitley:

Asst. Coach-Midget Elite 16 U AA Coach Waitley has coached or instructed hockey at all levels for over 30 years. He is a native of Evanston, Illinois where he played youth hockey and began his instructing career with the Can/Am and Notre Dame Hockey Schools. He played college hockey for Iowa State University and coached U16/U18 in Iowa and Indiana before coaching his two sons through all youth levels in Chicago, Ohio, and Atlanta. Coach Waitley has coached the last 8 years in Atlanta, the last three seasons with Coach Carlson for the Atlanta Knight’s organization. He is also a member of the Atlanta Knight’s Advisory Board and Level 4 certified.

Bill Galvin:

Coach Bantam B - Galvin has over 30 years of ice hockey experience as a player, referee, and coach. He has been a part of the Atlanta Knights coaching staff for eight years. Coach Galvin has covered the NHL as a national TV sports producer, working closely with former Thrasher’s TV analyst Darren Elliot. Coach Galvin played collegiate hockey for the University of Tennessee and still plays in the Atlanta area adult hockey leagues. He is a certified Level III coach.

Scott Barber:

Asst. Coach- Bantam Travel, Coach Barber is an Atlanta, Ga. native. He played for the Atlanta Flames Youth Organization and attended Tabor Academy for two seasons on a hockey scholarship. During his college career he became the first captain of the UGA Ice dogs. He still maintains a close relationship with his alma mater. Coach Barber has been an Atlanta Knights coach for 7 seasons. He is a Level 4 certified coach.

Liam Tully:

Coach Tully, a native of Toronto, Ontario has been in the Knights organization for over 7 seasons, as both player and coach. He was a standout player with the Knights, and was an assistant coach on the 2009/10 National Championship Junior team. He is a self-motivating individual who enjoys teaching skill development to younger players. He is a certified strength and conditioning coach.

John Tuggle:

Toggle is a successful young business owner in Atlanta, entering his second season as a coach within the Knights organization. He coached the Peewee travel team last year, alongside Liam Tully, and made an immediate impact. Coach Tuggle played his high school hockey in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He continues to play here in the AAHL league as a member of the Atlanta Senior Knights.

Kevin Brubacher:

The Squirt All-Star Coach Brubacher grew up playing hockey in Brantford Ontario, playing through high school. He is an active member of the AAHL Men’s Hockey League. He has been in the Atlanta Knights program since 2006. He has coached at the Mite through Peewee levels and has been active in skills development camps during off seasons. He is a certified Level 3 coach. He has three son’s playing hockey within the Knights program.

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